Semicolon Survey

Subject: Semicolon Survey
From: "Robert Plamondon" <robert -at- plamondon -dot- com>
To: "'TECHWR-L'" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Fri, 22 Aug 2003 09:00:32 -0700

A lot of the talk about semicolons has been pretty high-falutin', so I
decided to make a quick survey of industry practices among publishers whose
aim is to appeal to a mass audience with a none-too-high reading level.

Because I allotted myself only fifteen minutes for this task, I chose to
focus on the excerpts put up by romance publishers for their new releases.
The results:

HARLEQUIN ROMANCES: Out of five excerpts, not one used a single semicolon.

AVON ROMANCES: Two of four excerpts used semicolons in profusion; the other
two used none.

In both cases, I was taken by the wide use of typographical devices in the
excerpts: ellipses, em dashes, italics, quotations, and three asterisks
indicating breaks in the action. This certainly doesn't support the "commas
and periods only" school of punctuation.

-- Robert
Robert Plamondon
President, High-Tech Technical Writing
robert -at- plamondon -dot- com
(541) 453-5841
"We're Looking for a Few Good Clients"


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